Budget, Politics & Government, Rhody News, Tiverton

Tiverton budget process needs details, public participation

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To the editor:

As a candidate for the Tiverton Charter Review Commission I have been asked many questions concerning the Tiverton Financial Town Referendum (FTR). The Tiverton Charter is much more than the FTR.  It seems that this has evolved from a Charter Review Committee election to a battle over the FTR.

I do not believe the FTR should be eliminated. My belief is that the current 50 required signatures is not a sufficient amount to submit a petitioner’s budget.  Any budget submitted should be required to show line items the same way our school budget and municipal budgets are also required to do.

As a taxpayer, I would like to know exactly what is  being added, increased, cut or reduced and how they will affect our town and services before I cast my vote for a budget. In conclusion, residents should be encouraged and welcomed to speak at meetings during the budget process.

I was appalled this budget season when not only did some budget committee members vote to end public speaking, they proceeded to vote for removing residents’ comments from the meetings’ minutes. I might add that some of the budget committee members who voted to silence residents and have their comments removed from the meeting minutes are now running for the Charter Review Commission (Jeff Caron, Donna Cook and Nancy Driggs).

Our duty, if elected, is to review our charter and recommend for approval and adoption amendments or revisions in a manner provided by the state constitution. The nine-member commission will need to work together over the course of the next year to review every section of the charter to see what changes may be needed and where wording could be clearer.

I hope during this process the commission will listen to residents’ and elected officials’ suggestions to see what challenges they have experienced with the charter. Our town charter is for the people by the people and needs to be reviewed with open conversation and public input. No resident should ever be silenced from asking questions of those who have been elected to represent us.  After the commission completes their work, all residents will have the power to approve or reject any revisions, amendments and additions in the November 2018 election.

I have chosen to run independently of any political action group.  I ask for your support for myself, Michael DeCotis, and David Paull. We want to represent you, the residents of Tiverton.

Please come and meet your candidates on July 17 from 6-9 p.m. in the Tiverton Library Community Room.  All candidates have been invited and we look forward to meeting our fellow residents.

Jennifer Joslyn

Tiverton Charter Review Candidate

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